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Arshenic – Interview with Ofilia & ‘Final Collision’ Album Review
Jad | May 19, 2020
What a wonderful day it is to enjoy listening and writing a review about a Metal album! I only kid of course. Every day is a good day to listen to Metal! Especially Mondays, as Metal cleanses your weary soul of the filth of this weekend-blues filled day. Probably that’s why I picked Monday as one of the days I post articles on, although to be fair most of the writing takes place on Sundays.
Anyway, the album we’ll be covering today comes from Alternative Metal band, Arshenic. The Polish band delivers a unique sound that interweaves many styles together. They describe the end result of their music as “experimenting with metal, goth rock, folk, progressive rock and electronic“. And as it seems from ‘Final Collision‘, our album of interest throughout this article, these experiments are being a success!
We also had the pleasure to interview Ofilia, the vocalist of Arshenic and talked about her band’s music and her thoughts on many things.
‘Final Collision’ is an album of 8 songs, extending over 36 minutes of music fueled with nicely made riffs, heavy beats, and exciting vocals. Here are four things we loved about ‘Final Collision’.
1. Ambitious music
What do you need to make a Metal song? Lyrics? Melody? Beat? Of course you’d need all that. But when you already have all that and your song is going very well but you decide to keep adding more elements to your song, that’s what I call ambitious efforts in music. I’m not talking about simple bridges or intermediate solos. I’m talking about wonderful musical additions that change the mood of the song from less or more groovy to speed changes and vocals changes. Examples of songs where this phenomenon has occurred is Final Collision, Dear Remorse, Rabbit Hole, and Cold.
2. Fifty shades of Metal
Some albums have that one or two songs that is different from the others on the album, maybe softer or more orchestral or of a more mainstream sound. Even if you are the biggest Metal fan, you’d get bored if the album you’re listening to is monotone from the first to the final track. Thus, having that alternative sound is very important for any album because for listeners who are going through the tracks, it would create a different mood and avoid them getting bored of a sound that doesn’t change.
Well Arshenic did even better! ‘Final Collision’ is a bouquet of different styles or Metal and Rock embraced into one sound. We have songs closer to Rock such as Follow, others closer to being “groovy” and gothic such as Madness, and others with a more aggressive turn such as Final Collision. They even switched between languages in Atari, a upbeat song full of energy, singing in their own Polish language.
3. Ofilia’s vocals
Ofilia’s performance on ‘Final Collision’ is, to put in simple words, majestic. The Polish vocalist has a very beautiful tune in her voice. And more importantly, she is able to use her wonderful voice to take the lyrics in the same direction the music is going. She is aggressive or soft, emotional or blunt. Her voice gave a great feel to the album as a whole and to some parts of some songs where it was needed to. Rabbit Hole, Madness and Dear Remorse are where we found her voice at its best.
4. Favourite Song: ‘Atari’
Some say that you only hate what you don’t understand. I have a counter example to that. I don’t understand one word on Atari, but it’s my favourite song on ‘Final Collision’. The final track on the album is very energetic with an upbeat music that makes it hard to resist playing it again and again. Ask Spotify.
It is always appreciated when a band includes a song with their culture in it, either by language or musical elements. This makes the album richer, and when you hear an artist singing in their native tongue you capture more of the feelings they have.
‘Final Collision’ is one heck of an album to just burst on your headphones and enjoy. Lyrics are smooth and nicely written, music is alternating from one great riff to another, and the overall work is just gorgeous. One thing that would have made the album even sexier is some additional guitar solos. There’s a great one on Madness and we would have loved to hear more of that on most of the songs.
We recommend ‘Final Collision’ to every Metal fan who is into sound fusion and experimental approaches to music.
We chatted with Ofilia from Arshenic and talked about music and other stuff. Hope you enjoy this interview!
Hello Ofilia. How are you and the other members of Arshenic doing during this lockdown? Hope you’re not heavily affected where you are.
Hi! There is a very small number of cases of the virus in Poland, so the lockdown is just playing with my patience to be honest, coz I can’t do my job – I run a vocal school in Gdańsk. After a week of locked down I got so frustrated by the boredom I decided, we should release a new single. We signed a deal with DI Records (US) and released a reinvented in poisonous style ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’, an old song, well known by Nirvana’s MTV live performance in the 90’s. We also made a music video as some kind of ‘Epidemy Diary’. Check it out on youtube, it was out in Easter 🙂
Happy to hear about the releases and hope things get better soon! Before we talk about your new album ‘Final Collision’ would you like to introduce our readers that have never listened to your music before to your band?
Arshenic is a Polish rock/metal band, and our music is based on experimenting with metal, goth rock, folk, progressive rock and electronic with a touch of witchy vibes.
Some artists stick to a certain sound or sub-genre while others love to be genre-free and make music for the sake of music. Which of these two types is Arshenic, and how would you describe your sound as a band on ‘Final Collision’?
The main idea for Arshenic is making music that will move us and the listeners. My ambition is to make a unique sound, not to copy another band’s style. I see Arshenic as a genre-free band. Final Collision is an album that we worked on for 3 years. The songs we picked were chosen from the larger amount of ideas. The digital version of the album has 9 songs included. The physical version also contains the singles we released a year before – Unspoken and Monster. It also has a hidden track, not available on the internet. Throughout the album we can experience different styles and moods. For example, there are progressive ballads (“Sign”), uptempo rock songs (“Follow”), doomish and progressive (“Dear Remorse”), goth and oriental “Madness”, and doom folkish “Cold”, Alternative and Nu Metal Rabbit Hole, apocalyptic and complex “Final collision”. Sound of the album is mainly defined by the various types of female vocals, both singing and screaming, clean and distorted guitars, diverse bass parts and dynamic drum playing with a little flavour of electronics, cellos and orchestral sounds in the background. As far as lyrics are concerned, they cover topics like independence, self-expression, inner emotional states, and are written mostly in a dark poetic manner. Also there are references to mysticism, magic and the unseen world which makes it even darker and maybe intriguing…
How are you feeling about the reception you received so far on ‘Final Collision’? Are you satisfied with the fans’ and listeners’ reactions?
The reactions were satisfying indeed, the average album rating is 8.5/10, so we could not be more happy about that. We are still an upcoming band, so we would love to have a bigger amount of listeners though.
Each song on an artist’s album, especially good ones, would have a special place in their heart. So to get our readers who haven’t heard your album yet excited about it, we will play a game where I’ll ask you to pick a song to do a specific job in this ‘Which song’ game. Which song on ‘Final Collision’ would you…
…use to introduce someone who never heard your music before to Arshenic?
Dear Remorse, I wrote the script and directed the music video. The song is about love triangle and deep, almost supernatural connection.
…read to someone as poetry?
Madness, Cold, The Sign
… recommend to someone not into Metal or Rock who wants to try your music?
… use as soundtrack if your life was a movie?
The whole album is my life soundtrack…
…choose to play in a show where your audience is the members of Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Queen?
Final Collision or Madness
…use as a war chant?
Cold or the ending of Unspoken – I heard the opinion that it’s so psychedelic it gives people chills.
Can I add something? The song I would play going on a date would be “Follow” 😀
Hahaha that’s awesome. Thanks for playing this game! Now whoever reads this will have an additional perspective on these songs. Which artists did you grow up listening to? And at what point did you decide you want to make music, not just be a listener?
I started writing music as soon as I started to make sounds I guess. I had this thing as a kid, that I was singing out everything I was doing. My parents have that video of me being 3 years old, playing piano and singing a “flower song” I was improvising. When I was a baby, there was no internet in Poland, so all I listened to were cassette recordings of artists my parents gave me. Those were the music giants of those times. My older brother who listened to metal music, was giving me some rock cassettes like Roxette, Guns’s Rozes or Scorpions. I started learning to sing with teachers when I was 7 years old, so I was singing pop songs and songs picked for me to perform in singing contests. I started to listen to heavier music on my own when I was 14, my first favourite metal bands were HIM, Rammstein, Guano Apes and all the famous nu metal bands.
Do you remember the first time you performed live at stage? How old were you and can you tell us the feelings you remember from that moment?
My first public performance was when I was 7. My parents forced me to sing in a school band, so we were performing in front of the whole school. I still remember how terrifying it was :).
As a woman with a successful career and leading role in a band, what advice would you give to young people, especially girls, who are planning to take the same course as you did?
I don’t really see it as a success yet. We are making music, people like it, that’s it. At this point my only advice is – try to be the best version of you and work your ass off to achieve that.
If you had the power to get rid of one problem from the many ones our world is facing, what would that problem be?
If I could choose only one then – animal cruelty. I started to organize a charity event in 2011, for the animal rescues in our area. We are doing a concert once a year, that you pay for with animal food that is gathered for a specific animal rescue. We combine it with raising awareness about helping stray animals. We also recorded a music video in animal rescue (Monster) to help animals get adopted. I have a rescue cat and dog so this subject is very close to my heart.
The final question is about feminism. Many people argue women have taken their full rights in most countries, whereas others see that there are still rights to fight for even in the most civilized countries and laws. What rights do you believe women around the world should still rally to fight for?
The equality is still just an empty phrase. In Poland women earn less money than men in the same job. Women are stigmatised by their looks and amout of sex partners. As a woman you’re still not sexy enough or a slut. Men demand us to think like them – be less emotional, but when you are acting like men, then you’re a sociopath or a cold bitch. Some men see us as weak, but when we are strong, they are just scared of us. The worst thing is sometimes the women are the ones who guard the old order.
Thank you for the interview Ofilia! It was a pleasure chatting with you. Good luck for you and Arshenic in your future projects.